Science Fiction Short Story Review: "The Aliens" by Murray Leinster
This is another in the series of “It Came from the Pulps!” where I review science fiction short stories that were originally published in the pulp magazines of mid-20th century. Many of these have become available in electronic form as free downloads, particularly from Project Gutenberg, or for a low price.
The Niccola is a Space Survey ship trying to determine the home of the Plumies. There has been no contact, but markers have been found on oxygen-bearing planets. The name comes from the crest of feathers that decorate the markers.
While out on a survey, Diane spots on the radar what might be a dead comet or might be a ship. The skipper gives orders to close in on the object. Jon Baird, also in the radar room, wonders if such a move won’t appear as aggression.
This is about first contact between two alien races who cannot communicate and how it can go very badly or not, depending on what they have to offer each other. The ending was wrapped up a little too neatly for me, though.
Author Murray Leinster (pen name for William Fitzgerald Jenkins) is credited with the invention of parallel universe stories as well as using one of the first universal translators in a science fiction story. He was also an inventor, inventing a special effects procedure known as front projection. His 1964 novel, The Time Tunnel , used a wormhole connecting the years 1904 and 1964. This led to a television series The Time Tunnel (1966-1967), loosely based on the book.
Title: “The Aliens” first published in Astounding Science Fiction Aug. 1959
Author: Murray Leinster (legal name William Fitzgerald Jenkins) (1896-1975)
©2015 Denise Longrie
An earlier version of this review appeared on another site. It has since been removed from that site and is no longer visible there or anywhere else. It has been updated and expanded for its inclusion in PP.
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